The Tesla Model 3 may have set the company’s sales figures on fire, but owners of the new electric car are feeling the chill. Reports emerging over this winter show users struggling to operate their new vehicle in colder climates, in part due to the door handles that sit flush against the body freezing over.
“So many oversights by Tesla in the design of the Model 3 in regards to cold weather,” a Twitter user called Daniel Wilkinson wrote last week. “I shouldn’t have to plant my feet and shove a broomstick into the door handle to pop it open in 28 degree weather. Not everybody lives in California.”
It comes as Tesla’s vehicles have started reaching a broader audience, with the mass market Model 3 targeting the company’s lowest-ever price point. Tesla led an extreme acceleration in production, jumping from producing around 2,000 cars total in July 2017 to reaching around 7,000 around 12 months later, 5,000 of which came from the Model 3. The car was the biggest-selling vehicle in the United States in terms of revenue for the second half of 2018.
The issues have led to some unfortunate results:
Others struggled to open even after countless scraping:
Electric cars tend to struggle with cold weather by default, as the battery struggles to offer the same energy levels in the lower temperatures. One user, writing for the blog “MrMoneyMoustache,” found their Nissan Leaf offers 20 percentfewers miles per charge compared to a hot day. Tesla offsets these issues by heating the battery to regain better mileage.
However, Tesla’s vehicles have previously shown signs of struggle in the cold weather. Norway is one of the company’s most important markets, as the country is home to more than 140,000 electric vehicles, but 52-year-old Thoralf Lian told Inverse last year that his Model X struggles to swing up the falcon wing doors when water freezes.
“They are built in California!” he said. “It’s not built to the Arctic environment.”
CEO Elon Musk has shown awareness of the issues, even promising to offer cold weather improvements via a software update. With Tesla planning to sell the Model 3 in more regions this year, including Europe and China, it could come at an ideal time in the company’s broader expansion.